A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week, remaking the British state, the China strategy America needs (08:27) and consultants of swing (14:56)
The most comprehensive and best-illustrated history of watercolor painting ever published.
The term watercolor calls to mind atmosphere, luminosity, and immediacy―qualities that derive directly from the quick-drying, translucent nature of water-based pigments. In Watercolor: A History, Louvre curator Marie-Pierre Salé provides an authoritative and beautifully illustrated account of this versatile and widely beloved artistic medium.
Salé’s incisive text traces the development of watercolor from the thirteenth to the twentieth century in Europe and the United States, encompassing every type of work―from plein-air sketches to finished studio pieces―and a wide variety of artists. Here are Dürer’s detailed animal studies, Turner’s landscapes, Cézanne’s tireless explorations, Sargent’s light-dappled sketches, O’Keeffe’s pioneering abstractions.
This handsome volume features more than three hundred full-color illustrations, specially printed on Munken paper to capture the vibrancy and texture of the original works. It is sure to be welcomed by art historians and art lovers alike.
The oldest continuously-running Chinese restaurant in the United States, the Pekin Noodle Parlor, has been feeding customers in Butte, Montana, since 1911. Correspondent Luke Burbank visits the multi-generational family business and takes a step into culinary history.
Often regarded as the capital of the Cotswolds, Cirencester was once the second largest town in Britain during Roman times. It’s name back then was Corinium Dobunnorum and today makes for essential visiting to any Cotswold traveller. The history of the Gloucestershire town spans several centuries, reflected by the dozens of interesting buildings nestled in the centre.
This past fall, the #BDTeam traveled with the German Roamers, in collaboration with @GermanyTourism, to explore the hidden gems of Germany.
Lennart Pagel (@lennart) and Max Muench (@muenchmax) showed us some of their favorite spots around Germany- from castles to national parks!
Modern engineering gives old memories a new meaning in Germany. It is a place where past and future come together. From the exploring the stunning castles of Schloss Drachenburg and Schloss Moritzburg to discovering the astounding natural sites of Zugspitze and Eifel National Park, the German Roamers show us their favorite spots to capture amazing content in Germany. Traveling across Germany doesn’t only show its landscapes and its people, it also inspires us to go beyond what meets the eye. Come explore Germany’s hidden gems with us.
Washington State is the country’s largest producer of mint, the oil of which can be worth thousands of dollars more per barrel than crude oil. Correspondent Conor Knighton visits family farmers, and the processing company Labbeemint, whose extracts of peppermint, spearmint and other varieties are used in everything from candy and gum to toothpaste and mouthwash.
Many studies suggest that exercise can help protect our memory as we age. This is because exercise has been shown to prevent the loss of total brain volume (which can lead to lower cognitive function), as well as preventing shrinkage in specific brain regions associated with memory. For example, one magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan study revealed that in older adults, six months of exercise training increases brain volume.
Another study showed that shrinkage of the hippocampus (a brain region essential for learning and memory) in older people can be reversed by regular walking. This change was accompanied by improved memory function and an increase of the protein brain-derived neutropic factor (BDNF) in the bloodstream.
The brain is highly dependent on blood flow, receiving approximately 15% of the body’s entire supply – despite being only 2-3% of our body’s total mass. This is because our nervous tissues need a constant supply of oxygen to function and survive. When neurons become more active, blood flow in the region where these neurons are located increases to meet demand. As such, maintaining a healthy brain depends on maintaining a healthy network of blood vessels.
Regular exercise increases the growth of new blood vessels in the brain regions where neurogenesis occurs, providing the increased blood supply that supports the development of these new neurons. Exercise also improves the health and function of existing blood vessels, ensuring that brain tissue consistently receives adequate blood supply to meet its needs and preserve its function.
Recently, a growing body of research has centred on microglia, which are the resident immune cells of the brain. Their main function is to constantly check the brain for potential threats from microbes or dying or damaged cells, and to clear any damage they find.
With age, normal immune function declines and chronic, low-level inflammation occurs in body organs, including the brain, where it increases risk of neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease. As we age, microglia become less efficient at clearing damage, and less able to prevent disease and inflammation. This means neuroinflammation can progress, impairing brain functions – including memory.
Monocle’s editor in chief, Tyler Brûlé, rounds up the weekend’s news with Eemeli Isoaho, Urs Bühler and Florian Egli. Plus, a check-in with our Latin America affairs correspondent, Lucinda Elliott. From Milan: Salone highlights, interviews and a daily running guide.
The Noto Peninsula is a peninsula that projects north into the Sea of Japan from the coast of Ishikawa Prefecture in central Honshū, the main island of Japan. The main industries of the peninsula are agriculture, fisheries, and tourism.
Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ capital, known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and narrow houses with gabled facades, legacies of the city’s 17th-century Golden Age. Its Museum District houses the Van Gogh Museum, works by Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum, and modern art at the Stedelijk. Cycling is key to the city’s character, and there are numerous bike paths.